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Dancing Extravaganza

Thursday, February 26, 2004
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be rhythmic and graceful to benefit from taking dance classes, and with so many different classes available, there’s something for everyone.

We’ve chosen three dances with a difference for today’s show: Hip Hop, Salsa, and African dance with percussion. So for a physical, spiritual and mental boost, why not visit your local dance studio.

Popular films such as Billy Elliot and Centre Stage have inspired people of all ages to start dancing, folk determined to get fit and healthy and reap the benefits of this fun and sociable sport. Here are three different venues offering three equally different dance styles:

Sydney Dance Company – Hip Hop

  • Sydney Dance Company holds open dance classes for adults 16 years and over
  • The dance classes are designed for fun and fitness and are the perfect exercise program. There are a variety of classes available for adults at all levels, so whether you are a dance lover, fitness enthusiast or a curious beginner, there is a class that’s right for you.
  • Classes are taught by professional dancers and choreographers and run seven days a week.
  • There are over 60 classes running weekly, so the hardest decision you’ll have to make will be choosing which one to do.
  • Sydney Dance Company specialize in Classical, Contemporary, Jazz, Funk, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre, Latin, Yoga, Stretch and more!
  • As the classes are casual you can join in at any time – no enrolments are necessary but it's advisable to give them a call to check class times before you come.
  • The Sydney Dance Café is a great place to meet your friends before or after a dance class. They serve great coffee, cake, light meals, snacks and drinks.
  • Classes cost $16 each or you can book a group of 12 for $160.

About Hip Hop:
  • Hip Hop is a street-style dance from the Bronx in New York City. It incorporates a free, funky and soulful expression of movement used by artists such as Usher, TLC and Selwyn
  • Real hip-hop is the dance style based on the foundations of popping, locking and b-boying (breaking).
  • Today’s Hip Hop teacher, Csaba Szirmai, was trained in Hungary in Latin & Ballroom Dance. He has won numerous championships for Hip Hop, Latin, and Salsa. In 2002, Csaba toured with the Australian ballroom dance spectacular “Burn the Floor”. His other credits include Rumba with Leah Haywood, Backstreet Boys Concert, N’Sync (TV) and Channel V Room 208 Breakdancer. Csaba is a regular Hip Hop teacher at Sydney Dance Company Open Dance Classes.
  • The best thing to wear to Hip Hop class is runners or jazz sneakers and non-restrictive street-wear or gym gear.

About Sydney Dance Company:
Sydney Dance Company has its origins in a company founded by dancer Suzanne Musitz. In the early 1970s, the fledgling organisation was given a new name - The Dance Company of New South Wales - and began to receive annual government funding along with a notable growth in stature and public support.

In 1976, a twenty-six year old Australian choreographer, Graeme Murphy, was appointed as Artistic Director, alongside dancer, Janet Vernon, as Associate Director. Together they have built a company that has changed the face of Australian dance. As the company quickly grew to be recognised as one of Australia's most influential arts organisations, Murphy and Vernon instituted another name change, in 1979, to Sydney Dance Company.

Fuelled by Graeme Murphy's choreographic invention and prolific output of original works, Sydney Dance Company has paved the way for the development of Australia's fast growing dance scene.

Sydney Dance Company tours regularly in Australia and all over the world, performing in 100 cities in 22 countries. The repertoire includes 26 full length productions. Many of the works feature commissioned scores by Australian composers and several of the works from the current touring repertoire feature live music performance.

Directions: Sydney Dance Company is located on the ground floor of The Wharf building. The dance class reception desk is situated inside the Café and the Studios are located down the corridor.

Vivaz Restaurant & Nightclub

Vivaz Restaurant is located in the heart of The Rocks, and with its spectacular harbour views it’s the perfect place to dine and dance. Vivaz Restaurant seats 400 people and features a buffet-style Latin American Churasco Grill. Vivaz can cater for all types of occasions, including Corporate Functions, Weddings, Birthday Parties, Hens & Bucks Nights. Their friendly staff guarantee to transport you to the exotic and sensual delights of South America, without leaving Sydney.

Dance Classes:
Vivaz is a restaurant with a difference… each Friday night from 7.30pm-8.30pm, a professional dancer/teacher is available for salsa and meringue lessons. Once your lesson is over you’re free to stay and practice what you’ve learned, or you can dine at the restaurant, South American style. Live Latin music starts from 10pm every Friday and Saturday night so you can take another opportunity to practice what you’ve learned in your dance lesson. Staff say there’s nothing like dancing the salsa to the sounds of a live band. Their bands, Chirimoya and Bandolero, perform all the various styles of music direct from South America including Salsa, Meringue and Rumba including a variety of well-known dance hits.

Dance classes cost $15 for a one-hour lesson or $10 if you decide to stay for dinner.

Vivaz Restaurant offers a delicious array of the best meats from their famous South American Churasco Grill. Their meats are dry-rubbed and flame grilled, before being carved from the skewers onto the plate. Their meats consist of Roast Lamb, Beef, Pork, Chorizo Sausage and Devilled Chicken Wings. Included are other delicious main courses, as well as salads, followed by seasonal fresh fruit and desserts, tea and coffee. All food is prepared by Head Chef, Raimo, and his Assistant Chef, Vigi. The bar is located in the centre of the restaurant and offers delicious cocktails, such as Pina Coladas, Margaritas, Sangria and much more.

Vivaz Restaurant is open every Friday and Saturday from 6.30pm–2.00am. Live entertainment happens every Friday and Saturday from 10pm-2am.

Sydney Community College – African Dance with Percussion

  • Come and dance to the rhythms of Africa with Pape (pronounced ‘Pup’) Mbaye, a professional dancer and percussionist from Senegal. He holds regular evening classes in African dance with percussion through the Sydney Community College. Feel the beat of the African drum while you learn traditional steps and dance routines in his weekly class.
  • Pape specializes in djembe and sabar drumming.
  • The Djembe is a very popular West African drum. This drum, which probably originated in Mali or Guinea, is made with goatskin and wood, and has become quite common in western countries, due to the sound similarity with the congas.
  • Sabar has three meanings… In addition to being a type of drum, it also means the ensemble of drums playing together, as well as the dance itself. There may be 10-12 drums in a sabar ensemble and each one has a different sound and is played in a different rhythm. One hears the echo of the sabar everywhere in Senegal, from radio waves to the bottom of the bush.
  • By the end of the course students will have learned to dance African dance steps while having fun, keeping fit and meeting new people.
  • Courses run over 8-week terms and cost $99 per person. Each class goes for 1.5 hours and terms run right throughout the year.
  • Students should dress in comfortable clothing and shoes for their class.

About Pape Mbaye:
  • Pape is a recognised percussionist (Sabar, Tama, Djembe, Bougarabou, Saorouba, Congas, and Timbalis); as well as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and Griot (oral history, tradition and culture teacher and exponent).
  • From 1976-1999 Pape was head drummer of the village of Yoff in Senegal.
  • He has been in bands that have played alongside BB King, Miles Davis and Ringo Starr.
  • He’s been a percussionist and dancer for L'Ensemble Traditionelle Sorano, L'Orchestre Nationale du Senegal, Assamane, Le Super Sabor de Dakar, Bubaca, Back to Africa, Gervais Koffi and African Diaspora, and Tambacounda. In addition, Pape was a recognised studio musician in Senegal.
  • He has been living, teaching and performing in Sydney since 1999.


Vivaz: The buffet costs $39 per person. Dance $15
Please note prices are valid at time of filming.

More information

Sydney Dance Company
The Wharf
Pier 4, Hickson Road
The Rocks
Phone: (02) 9221 4811
Contact: Tammy Wheeler or Csaba Szirmai (teacher)

Vivaz Restaurant & Nightclub
80 George Street
The Rocks
Phone: (02) 9251 4467, 0413 756 320
Contact: Andrew Katz

Sydney Community College
Cnr Balmain Road & Perry Street, Leichhardt (within the grounds of the Orange Grove Public School)
Parking available, enter via Perry Street
Contact: Jacqueline Wells or Pape Mbaye
Phone: (02) 8752 7522, 0425 273 236 (Jacqueline), 0411 718 050 (Pape).

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